Cloud Computing for Lawyers: An Introduction
Over the last year I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about “cloud computing” and by now you’re probably wondering: what exactly is it?
At Webopedia.com, “Cloud Computing” is defined as a “type of computing that is comparable to grid computing, relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing power (normally used by military and research facilities) to perform tens of trillions of computations per second.”
In other words, cloud computing makes it possible for your data and software platforms and services to be stored offsite, in the “cloud".
Online services of this type, which include software as a system (SaaS) and platforms as a system (PaaS), are becoming increasingly common and, for many lawyers, are an attractive alternative to the traditional law practice management software installed and maintained on a local server within a law office.
Online services available to attorneys now include law practice management systems, document management and storage platforms, secure document and information exchange services, secure email networks, digital dictation services and billing/timekeeping services. The online platforms are attractive, economical and viable alternatives for firms of all sizes.
Advantages include lower costs due to reduced overhead, less hassle related to maintaining the and upgrading the case management system and greater flexibility, since the Web-based system can be accessed anywhere, at anytime.
Taking advantage of cloud computing services allows firms to focus on the ever-important task of practicing law while the cloud computing provider operates, updates and maintains the practice management software.
In the next posts about cloud computing we’ll be discussing the different types of cloud computing platforms and products. Once you’ve learned a bit more about cloud computing, you just may decide that it’s time to consider incorporating cloud computing into your law firm’s law practice management system.